6-2 Legislation
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6-2 Legislation

Welcome back for segment two
of education and disability. What we’ll do during this
particular segment is we’ll talk a little bit
about the legislation and what it all involves
in terms of ensuring that students with disabilities
have the right to go to school. As we begin this new
segment, one of the things I will say right
off the bat is that there required laws
to be passed. Laws had to be put
in place to ensure that children and adults
had access to education. The two laws that
we will hit, and we won’t go into
great depth because, again, the nature of our
talks and the brevity, but certainly you have a
number of links to them within your course materials,
the first law that was passed to guarantee
access was 94-142, the Education for all
Handicapped Children’s Act. Now certainly not the
language we would use now. But that law has
subsequently been updated. And people will refer
to it as IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act. Both of these laws were
incredibly important in creating an opportunity
for children to go to school. And so we’re going to talk
about the fundamental aspects of IDEA, Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act. Every child has
what’s called access to a free and appropriate
public education. That’s one aspect of
what this law provides. This is an incredibly
important aspect of the law. It means that every child, regardless of his
or her disability, is guaranteed a civil
right to be educated. No child can be denied the
right to an education. Another aspect of the law
that’s particularly important has to do with inclusion. The law also provides the – or
enforces the concept of what’s called least
restrictive environment, LRE, and that’s the idea that we
don’t want to separate children with disabilities, at least as,
as has been done historically, so that they’re going to their
own school and the children without disabilities go to
a whole separate school. The least restrictive
environment has generally been interpreted as how
do we get the students that were typically segregated
and get them either mainstreamed or fully included or
otherwise interacting with their non-disabled classmates. Another part of this that’s
important when we think about the process of how do
plans get put in place. There’s a staffing
meeting called an Individualized
Education Plan that leads to a document that
says here are the resources, supports and so on that a
student is eligible to receive. I’ve got a lot of
information on IEPs, and one of the things that I
would share is that, when they’re being done, it’s
typically done in a room where the parent and sometimes
the child comes in. All of these professionals
are sitting around the table. Each of those professionals
has, particularly if you’re talking about initial planning, has done an evaluation, has
a report on your child, and so they give their reports. It’s all well and good,
except often times there’s a large focus
on the child’s weaknesses versus the strengths. One of our guest speakers,
Lori Nelson, is both a speech-language
pathologist, as well as a parent. And I would like her to
talk to you a little bit about the IEP process and how that
works and her experience.>>Lori Nelson, SLP: IEPs, or individualized
education plans, are part of the provisions for students with disabilities here in the United States. Every student that’s
identified with one or more of 16 categories of eligibility can have an individualized
education plan. That’s formulated
by the school team, which would be the teacher,
a general education teacher, a special education teacher,
school psychologist, social worker and
speech-language pathologist, as well as the parents
should be a very active part of that, that team.. Once
eligibility is determined, then appropriate
services are decided, what accommodations are best, what interventions
would be needed to help the student
move forward. They are convened every year
so that the plan is reviewed to make sure a child
is still receiving the appropriate education in the
least restrictive environment. So as a professional, I can
speak about it gets, you know, we first have to make
sure that the child still is eligible for special
education services. As a parent, that can
get beat to death. I’ve sat in IEP meetings
where that was the only thing being discussed was how he
couldn’t find his cubby and he couldn’t put his coat on
and he was not yet saying his name and a list of the
things that he couldn’t do, which I was
painfully aware of that he couldn’t
do these things. So I recall one meeting
where I actually had, you know, as a parent, had
just really had enough. And asked to stop the
meeting until everyone could refocus on what was
the plan moving forward. Because that should be the
emphasis of the IEP meeting. What’s the plan
moving forward. If the child has been
established as eligible, we don’t need to go through
all of the reasons. That’s a done and
done conversation. So, again, as a parent, it’s
helpful to take some control over the meetings when they
become a little more deficit oriented rather
than solution focused. Remembering that my son is 29,
so things were different then than they are now for education,
I chose to have him placed in actually a most
restrictive environment. He could have stayed
in the district in a general education classroom
under the inclusion model and he would have had
a paraprofessional with him in the classroom, perhaps some minutes
during the day with a special education teacher to work on some discreet skills. I chose not to do that. I felt that he would, he
would best grow and learn in.. a self-contained classroom
in a neighboring school that was designed — the
classroom was designed specifically for
children like him with, with autism,
communicative disorders. They had different
interventions. They had more intrusive
interventions, rather than being able
to sit passively in a general
education classroom, he was kind of forced to
interact and forced to do tasks that he may
be reluctant to do. Now, that was by legal
definition considered the least restrictive
environment. However, for him it gave him
the opportunity to do things that students do
all of the time in school. To take notes to the
principal’s office. To collect garbage and get
that ready to be taken out. To walk the halls of
the school freely. Having been in the general
education environment, he would not have had that
independence to do that. So in that environment,
he was normal. That was part of his day.
He was like everybody else. And everyone talks
to themselves and everyone does these
things and it’s fine. So for our family, that
was the best choice for him. Now, he would not
have been able to do that in the general
education environment likely because that would be
regarded as disruptive behavior. So he would have had
an adult with him reminding him to not
talk to himself. To do this, do that,
do this, do that.>>Greg Long: As we
end this segment and look at our next one, what I want to
summarize is that, remember, every child
has a legislative right to attend school. They have a civil
right to attend school. And that that school —
you know, we talked about that as a free and public
education provided in the least
restrictive environment and guided by an agreement
between the school and the parents and the
child, if you will, called the Individualized
Education Plan, the IEP. Now, before we get
into this any further, what I would like to do is kind
of back up a little bit and talk about as we think
of service provision, let’s think about what happens
at the very earliest stages. The birth to three
kind of age, and we’ll refer to that
as early intervention. That will be the topic
of our next segment.

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